May 4, 1968
Attachment to Directives for the USSR Delegation at the Continuing XXII Session of the UN General Assembly
This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
Attachment to Directives[i]
From the very first days of its existence the Soviet State has put forward as the foundation of its line in foreign policy the struggle against the imperialist policy of aggression and war, for safeguarding peace among the peoples. Following the course indicated by Lenin, the Soviet Government comes out firmly and consistently in favour of the implementation of a broad programme of measures for ending the arms race and for disarmament and for the implementation of a plan for general and complete disarmament.
The active struggle of the socialist countries and of all peace-loving States has made it possible to carry out a series of practical steps aimed at restricting the sphere of the nuclear arms race and at disarmament. The Moscow treaty, banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, was followed by the treaty on the principles governing the activity of States in outer space, which closed outer space to nuclear weapons. The treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, now drafted and ready for signing, is of great significance for the cause of strengthening peace and creates favourable conditions for the further struggle to end the arms race and to carry out effective measures for banning and destroying nuclear weapons.
The interests of safeguarding peace call for further steps aimed at restricting the arms race and at disarmament. This is all the more important since the intensification of the activities of the aggressive forces has resulted in a worsening of international relations, while the United States war of aggression is expanding in Vietnam and Israel is continuing to occupy territories forcibly seized from a number of Arab States.
Following the conclusion of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Government proposes that an understanding be reached on the implementation, in the near future, of the following urgent measures for an end to the arms race and for disarmament:
1. A ban on the use of nuclear weapons
Ever since the emergence of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Union has consistently stood for a ban on these weapons of mass annihilation and the complete destruction of such weapons.
The conclusion of an international agreement banning the use of nuclear weapons would be an important advance towards the solution of this problem and towards the removal of the danger of nuclear war. Such an agreement would be a serious deterrent for all those who might like to use nuclear weapons. This agreement would help to improve the international atmosphere by dispelling the suspicions of some powers concerning the intentions of others to use nuclear weapons.
With the object of facilitating the earliest possible solution of this problem, the Government of the USSR submitted to the twenty-second session of the United Nations General Assembly a draft convention on the banning of the use of nuclear weapons. A considerable majority of the delegations in the General Assembly supported the idea of the necessity of concluding such an international convention. The Assembly urged all States to study the draft convention on the banning of the use of nuclear weapons submitted by the Soviet Union, and also other proposals which might be made on this question, and to hold talks concerning the conclusion of an appropriate convention through the convocation of an international conference in the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee, or directly between States.
With the aim of achieving a practical solution to the problem of banning the use of nuclear weapons, the Soviet Government proposes that the Eighteen-Nation Committee should discuss as a priority item a draft convention on the banning of the use of such weapons and exchange opinions on the convocation of an international conference to sign an appropriate convention.
2. Measures to end the manufacture of nuclear weapons and to reduce and destroy stockpiles of such weapons
Seeking to rid mankind of the threat of nuclear war, the Soviet Government proposes that ail nuclear powers should immediately open talks on the ending of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the reduction of the stockpiles of those weapons and a subsequent total ban on, and destruction of, nuclear weapons under appropriate international control. The Soviet Government expresses its readiness to open such talks with all other nuclear powers at any time. In so doing, the Soviet Government proceeds on the basis of the assumption that in the course of such talks an understanding may be reached both on the entire complex of measures leading to the destruction of nuclear weapons, and also on some of the measures directed towards this aim.
3. Limitation and subsequent reduction of means of delivery of strategic weapons
The Soviet Government proposes that an understanding be reached on concrete steps for the limitation and subsequent reduction of strategic means of delivery of strategic nuclear weapons. In so doing, the Soviet Government proceeds on the basis of the assumption that the destruction of the entire arsenal of means of strategic delivery and, in any case, the reduction of this arsenal to the absolute minimum, with the retention, and this only temporarily, of only a strictly limited quantity of such means, would be a measure leading to the removal of the danger of nuclear war.
The Soviet Government expresses its readiness to hold an exchange of views with the States concerned on the mutual limitation and subsequent reduction of strategic means of delivery of nuclear weapons.
4. Ban on flights of bombers carrying nuclear weapons beyond national frontiers. Limitation of the zones of voyages of submarines carrying missiles
The Soviet Government has more than once drawn the attention of the governments of other States and of world opinion to the danger of flights of bombers carrying nuclear weapons beyond the limits of national frontiers. The increasing number of crashes of American bombers carrying nuclear weapons beyond the territory of the United States arouse the legitimate anxiety of many countries. There is no guarantee that the next crash of a bomber carrying nuclear weapons will not lead to a nuclear explosion with all the ensuing consequences.
In the present tense situation such a nuclear explosion might spark off a whole chain of grave events and lead to a conflict dangerous to all mankind. From a military point of view, these flights of bombers are senseless in conditions in which nuclear rocket weapons exist. They can only have one purpose: to worsen international tension, ignoring the consequences of such a dangerous practice.
The Soviet Government proposes that flights of bombers carrying nuclear weapons beyond the limits of national frontiers be banned without delay.
In order to reduce the risk of a nuclear war breaking out, the Soviet Government also proposes that an agreement be reached on ending the patrolling by nuclear missile-carrying submarines within missile striking range of the borders of the contracting parties.
5. Ban on underground tests of nuclear weapons
The Soviet Union has been and continues to be a firm supporter of a ban on all tests of nuclear weapons and believes that a ban on all tests would promote the strengthening of peace and the slowing down of the arms race. The Soviet Government is prepared to reach an immediate understanding on the banning of underground tests of nuclear weapons on the basis of using national means of detection to control this ban.
6. Ban on the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons
The Soviet Government has more than once drawn the attention of States to the danger to mankind from the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons. Reflecting the common anxiety of the peoples in view of that danger, the twenty-first session of the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for strict observance by all States of the principles of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 on the prohibition of the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons, and condemning all actions in contradiction with this aim, and proposed that all States should accede to the Geneva Protocol.
However, this important decision of the General Assembly is not being fulfilled by some countries, and in the first place by the United States. Moreover, the United States is using chemical weapons in its aggressive war in Vietnam. In view of this, the Soviet Government proposes that the Eighteen-Nation Committee should examine ways and means of securing observance by all States of the Geneva Protocol on the prohibition of the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons.
7. Dismantling of foreign military bases
Military bases on foreign territories create a serious threat to peace. Such bases serve as a source of the outbreak of military conflicts and threaten the freedom and independence of the peoples. This is convincingly borne out by the United States' continuing war of aggression in Vietnam and by the tension and conflicts in other parts of the world where foreign bases are situated.
The Soviet Government proposes that, in accordance with instructions of the twenty-first session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee should urgently examine the question of dismantling foreign military bases.
8. Measures for regional disarmament
The Soviet Government supports the establishment of nuclear-free zones in various parts of the world. In so doing, it proceeds on the basis of the assumption that the formation of such zones would effectively limit the sphere of deployment of nuclear weapons and fully accord with the task of preventing the direct or indirect proliferation of such weapons.
The Soviet Government believes that not only groups of States, embracing whole continents or major geographical regions, but also more limited groups of States, or even individual countries, may assume commitments for the establishment ofnuclear-free zones.
The Soviet Government also supports proposals concerning the implementation of measures for regional disarmament and for the reduction of armaments in various regions of the world, including the Middle East.
Of course, the question of such measures for slowing down the arms race in the Middle East could be considered only in conditions in which the consequences of the Israeli aggression against the Arab countries were eliminated and, above all, the Israeli forces were completely evacuated from the territories of Arab countries occupied by them.
9. Peaceful uses of the sea bad and ocean floor
The interests of slowing down the arms race are fully in keeping with the elimination of the military uses of the environments in which man lives and works, and with the prevention of new spheres of human activity being used in such a way. The Soviet Government has consistently made efforts to achieve these aims and is continuing to do so, and it notes with satisfaction that appropriate limitations, recorded in the Antarctic Treaty and the treaty on the principles governing the activity of States in the exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, are important practical steps in this direction.
The progress of research and the prospects for developing the sea bed and the ocean floor make it possible to raise the question of the timely recording in a proper form of conditions which would ensure that the sea bed beyond the limits of existing territorial waters was used exclusively for peaceful purposes. This would ban, specifically, the establishment of fixed military installations on the sea bed, and also any other military activity. The Soviet Government proposes that the Eighteen-Nation Committee open talks on the use of the sea bed beyond the limits of existing territorial waters exclusively for peaceful purposes.
In proposing the aforementioned measures, the Soviet Government draws attention to the
need to make every effort to achieve concrete results in solving the problem of general and complete disarmament. The Soviet Government considers it necessary that the talks on this question in the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee be activated. At the same time, it favours the implementation of the United Nations General Assembly's decision on holding a world disarmament conference and is confident that the convening of such a conference will facilitate a solution of this very important problem confronting mankind.
Guided by its line on questions concerning the struggle for peace, a line that is based on principle, the Soviet Union, in co-operation with socialist countries and with all peace-loving States, will work for the removal of the danger of nuclear war, for the curbing of the forces of aggression and for the implementation of a broad programme of disarmament. The Soviet Government calls upon ala States to do everything necessary to reach an understanding on urgent measures for ending the arms race and for disarmament.
[i] Note: The following information is extracted from Protocol No. 80 of the CPSU CC Politburo meeting, finalized on 6 May1968 and covering numerous resolutions made during 16 April to 6 May 1968.
A series of recommendations for the UN, put forth by the Soviet Union, calling for strong restrictions on the creation, testing, movement, and use of nuclear weapons.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].